Victims of alleged sect sex crimes to file charges today

Victims of alleged sexual harassments by Cheng Myong Suk, founder of the Jesus Morning Star (JMS) sect in South Korea said they will officially file charges against Cheng and Huang Ching-yuan, a Taiwan pastor and spokesman for the religious group, today at the Taipei District Court.

Ms. Kim, one of two Korean women who flew into Taipei, held a news conference yesterday to tell how Cheng had sexually violated their bodies and mental health in the name God's will.

Kim and sympathizers, members of the Exodus, an organization established by former JMS members in South Korea, claimed that the number of Cheng's victims could exceed 500 in several nations, including Korea, Japan, Germany, and Taiwan.

They will present the court video tapes of other female victims and relevant evidence today.

Most victims of the alleged sexual abuse are well-educated female college students and graduates as well as women holding master's or Ph.D. degrees. Some of them are pairs of sisters or mothers and daughters.

Cheng has been staying in Taiwan for several years after he was put on a wanted list for investigation.

The Exodus members will also file libel charges against Huang Ching-yuan, a spokesman for the JMS in Taiwan, for his defamation of members of the group.

Cheng's supporters also showed up at the news conference yesterday and engaged in a scuffle and shouting match against Exodus members. They denied all charges levied against Cheng and said they will fight against the charges in court. A prosecutor said she had sought in vain for access to the charges and evidence against Cheng in Korea through Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

She said she would like talk with the victims and collect evidence they present for further investigation.

At an interpellation session in the Legislative Yuan, Education Minister Ovid Tseng, said that he heard about the alleged sex scandal more than a month ago.

Tseng said he has instructed presidents of local universities to make investigations and submit him the reports. He also asked the schools to alert students about the unscrupulous practice disguised as religious activities.

He said the law enforcement authorities should also conduct a thorough probe to clarify the situation.